AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2013
New Racquet, No Pressure For Djokovic
by ATP Staff|
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is capable of winning on all surfaces, but the Serbian has a knack for delivering his best tennis at Melbourne Park.
Djokovic has won three of his five major championships at the Australian Open (2008, 2011-12) and is bidding to become the first male to lift three straight trophies at the event in the Open Era. While history is on the line, Djokovic doesn’t believe there is an additional burden on his shoulders to do well.
“I feel this is a point where everybody starts from the same line, so I don't really put myself in a position to have more pressure than the others have, to be honest,” says Djokovic. “I've been faced with this particular kind of pressure, defending the title in major events, a few times. So I know how it feels like, what I need to do. As I said, I'm trying to keep it very simple, take it day to day, see how far I can go.
“This is my most successful Grand Slam. But this Grand Slam is also known for a lot of surprises, players who have been reaching the final stages who are not expected to, especially in the last six, seven years. We'll see. The Australian Open always brings something interesting.”
The top seed will debut a brand new racquet at the tournament. Though it could be considered risky, Djokovic feels he is ready to implement the change after testing the frame.
“There are no big changes in dimensions and the distribution of the weight. I'm extra careful about the racquet. It's the most important tool for a tennis player,” Djokovic says. “It's an individual sport, so every tennis player has different demands, different desires how the racquet should look like, how it feels in their hands. I feel comfortable with this racquet. It gives me control and speed. It's suitable to my style of the game.”
Djokovic has been drawn in the same half as fifth-ranked David Ferrer. The 25 year old opens his title defence against Paul-Henri Mathieu. Djokovic hasn’t played the Frenchman since 2009 and has won four of their five meetings.
“Maybe he's lower ranked at this moment but he was a Top 20 player,” says Djokovic. “He knows how it feels to play on a big stage. There is no underestimating him, that's for sure. I'm going to try to focus from the start.”